Nuclear watchdog complains of stonewalling by Iran

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Nuclear watchdog complains of stonewalling

Iran may be seeking to soften its image with its proposed nuclear deal with Brazil and Turkey, but the Islamic republic continues to play hardball with U.N. nuclear inspectors, a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggests.

The nuclear watchdog scolded Iran on Monday for stonewalling on a wide range of issues, from granting access to scientists and files to providing details on uranium enrichment plants Iranian officials say they plan to build.

On the subject of the new plants -- Iran says it plans to build 10 -- a formal agency request for information drew a tersely worded brushoff. "Iran did not provide the requested information and stated only that it would provide the agency 'with the required information in due time,' " according to the internal report prepared in advance of a meeting of the agency's board of governors.

The report noted that Iran continues to add to its stockpile of 5 percent-enriched uranium -- the kind used in nuclear power plants -- and is preparing to expand its capacity for making 20 percent-enriched uranium, which Iran says it needs to fuel a medical research reactor. Iranian leaders deny seeking nuclear weapons, but the agency report said bluntly that Iran has "not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities." With further processing, Iran's uranium stockpile could be used to make at least two nuclear bombs.

U.N. inspectors also noted that a key piece of nuclear-related lab equipment had recently disappeared from a research facility used in the past to test uranium metal. The equipment, an electrochemical cell that had been observed three months ago in a Tehran facility, was gone when agency officials visited in May.

-- Joby Warrick


Attack at hospital leaves 6 dead

At least two gunmen disguised in police uniforms attacked a hospital in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore late Monday, killing six people in a failed attempt to free a captured militant being treated there, officials said.

The gunmen escaped but left without securing the release of the militant, who was part of a group of gunmen who attacked a minority sect in Lahore on Friday and killed 93 people, said Rana Sanaullah, the law minister of Punjab province.

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